Campus News

Bowdoin Professor To Give Keynote at Red Mass


Story posted September 20, 2005

Christian Potholm, Bowdoin's DeAlva Stanwood Alexander Professor of Government, will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon following Maine's celebration of the Red Mass on Friday, September 30, 2005.

The Roman Catholic ceremony, which dates back to the 13th century, honors the values of justice and fairness, and marks the start of a new judicial year.

The Red Mass traditionally has been celebrated in Portland, where it draws large numbers of Maine attorneys, judges and governmental leaders. Past keynote speakers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. This year it will be held at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston in recognition of Maine's many Franco-Americans.

"This year we are saluting Franco-Americans, many of whom have been instrumental in the legal profession and judgeships in Maine," noted Marc Mutty, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. "We are delighted that Professor Potholm can join us and share his expertise on Franco-Americans and their uniquely important role in Maine's legal and political life."

"I am very honored by this invitation," said Potholm, who will give a talk titled, "Ethnicity, Politics and Conflict."

"I have spent 30 years studying the role of Franco-Americans in politics in Maine," he said. "They have gone from being ignored by Republicans and taken for granted by Democrats, to being the most important swing-vote in Maine in both candidate and ballot measures. The Franco-American vote also elected both of our independent governors."

Potholm, who has been on the Bowdoin faculty since 1970, is the author of 14 books. His private polling firm, Command Research, has polled in Maine for 25 years.

For more information on the Red Mass or Professor Potholm's address, contact Michael Poulin at 784-3200, ext. 355.

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